March 23, 2024

Discourse on Communion of the Holy Mysteries (St. John of Kronstadt)

Discourse on Communion of the Holy Mysteries

By St. John of Kronstadt

"Receive the Body of Christ.
Taste of the fountain of immortality."

Before you, Christ's flock, in this cup is the divine body and divine blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and you have prepared by fasting and confession to receive these holy, immortal and life-giving Mysteries. In order to receive them worthily, the following is required of each of you: 
Firstly, childlike, simple-hearted faith that you are receiving, under the guise of bread and wine, the most pure body and the most pure blood of the Savior, that you receive the Savior Himself with your lips into your heart, become one flesh and blood with Him, one Spirit, as it is said: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones” (Eph. 5:30); “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 6:56); and “cleave to the Lord; you are one spirit with the Lord” (1 Cor. 6:17); for in this portion of the body and blood of Christ God, which you receive, the whole Jesus Christ is found, as a soul in a body. 
Secondly, it is required of you to have a perfect, unshakable hope in the mercy of the Savior, that He will burn and cleanse all your sins with His blood as by divine fire. Wherefore, every one of you, conscious of your unworthiness to receive the divine Mysteries, give yourselves completely to the mercy of the Lord, so that He Himself, by His grace, may make you worthy to receive His holy Mysteries; let every man be trusting; let no one hesitate, let him not be faint-hearted, let him not be discouraged, imagining his lewdness. From the chalice is given to all the mercy of the Lord, and great forgiveness, and the cleansing of sins. Only believe and trust. 
The third requirement is the great, ardent, angelic love of the partakers of the Savior. Each of you must respond to the love of the Lord with love: for, tell me, what kind of love of God for us sinners was revealed in the fact that God Himself, having become incarnate for us, having suffered, died and risen, gave us His divine body and blood for food and drink, and through this He united with us in the closest union, mingled with us, making us partakers of His divine nature! What mother, what father ever loved their children as much as the Lord loved us? And why does the Lord unite with us in the Holy Mysteries? In order to cleanse us from the filth of sins, from filth, which is nothing more disgusting and murderous, in order to impart to us His holiness, His divine life, peace, joy, gladness, lightness, sweetness, freedom, of which there is nothing more valuable, more desirable in the world. So that you can be taken, cleansed from sins, changed, renewed, to heaven, to eternal life, to eternal blessedness. For with sins, with passions, no one can be in paradise: “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life,” says the Lord, "and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:54).

Wherefore, you who are to partake of the Divine Mysteries, inflame your hearts with love for the Savior. Holy Spirit, Comforter, Treasury of good things, pour Your love into our hearts!

A fourfold change of heart is required of you. Until now, many of you loved sin, and, willingly or unwillingly, you indulged in sin; now try to hate it with all your might: for sin is the product of the devil, resistance to God; try to change everything in the very depths of your soul. You have the opportunity to taste the body and blood of the divine Lamb, the meek and gentle Lord Jesus Christ: be meek lambs yourself, gentle, patient, submissive to the will of God, the Church, the will of your parents, superiors, and elders. You will accept the body and blood of the Savior, and He is all love, and enmity and malice are disgusting to Him: let us also try to live in mutual love; forgive insults, do not repay evil for evil, or annoyance for annoyance. Come to the Lord, the Heavenly King, who leads us all to heaven; try to think about heavenly things; strive to acquire heavenly morals; give up your addiction to earthly things, which are perishable and enslave and corrupt souls; love the mountainous fatherland, the mountainous city of Jerusalem, where the Mother of God and the saints are, and where we should all strive; leave all impurities and sinful passions; everyone show a change for the better, everyone show a correction; everyone bring some good fruit of good deeds to the Master; everyone create fruits worthy of repentance. God! You Yourself change us, You Yourself renew us!

Finally, in order for us to preserve this heavenly gift - the most pure body and blood of Christ - we are required, fifthly, to pay attention to ourselves, to our thoughts, to our heart, to all its feelings and inclinations, curbing its sinful desires and aspirations, and also abstinence in food and drink; abstinence from idle talk, profanity, oaths and all lies; in a word: everyone, take care of yourself from everything that is contrary to Christ, the Savior of our souls; remember that through communion the Lord adores you, making you divine; divinely and try to live in all holiness, righteousness and truth. You are children of God and Christ: what kind of life befits the children of God?

May the Lord vouchsafe all of you to receive the Divine Mysteries worthily and fruitfully. “Whoever eats and drinks” the divine Body and divine Blood “unworthily, eats and drinks condemnation for himself” (1 Cor. 11:29) says the Holy Apostle Paul. Therefore, let us draw near with faith and love, that we may be partakers of eternal life. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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